Prime Minister Hun Sen’s actions in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic will soon be memorialised in a book to be released as early as next month.
The book’s translated English title is Hun Sen: The dashing hero who went against the current to fight Covid-19 and is being compiled by Hun Sen’s advisers and members of the Khmer Writers Association (KWA).
It will highlight the government’s measures to contain the virus as a historical fact, so the younger generations can understand the events surrounding the disease, said Pov Sok, Hun Sen’s adviser and KWA financier.
Sok said: “[In] Cambodia, the government implements good measures. We don’t have dangers in our lives. We’ve seen infections, but we treated them all and they healed.
“More importantly, we contained it [the virus] well. As Samdech [Hun Sen] said, we are a small country but we have a big heart. We’ve helped citizens from 41 countries, including more than 600 Americans.
“We have a generous heart. We are a small country that has been insulted, but we have done well regionally and externally. We encourage the publication of this book and hope it eases the criticism we have for each other.”
Sok said the book will feature remarks from Hun Sen.
He said the book depicts the first step taken by Hun Sen in combating the virus, which was to arrive in Preah Sihanouk province after he allowed the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock in Sihanoukville.
The ship had more than 2,000 people on board and had been previously denied entry by several other countries.
At the time, Sok said Hun Sen wanted people to understand what he meant when he said the real disease is not Covid-19, but fear.
“So, he encouraged us not to be quick to get nervous. He fears that we are very concerned about the disease. If we are very nervous, we cannot deal with the virus. We get confused. So the senior leadership has measures in place,” he said.
The book will also detail the second step taken by Hun Sen, which was to urge people to practice proper hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease, such as washing hands and wearing face masks and scarves.
He also ordered the authorities to prepare treatment facilities for Covid-19 patients.
At first, approximately 2,500 copies of the book will be published and distributed to libraries across the country.
Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute director Kin Phea said on Monday that he approved of the book because it is being compiled by the senior leadership and will teach younger generations about the events surrounding Covid-19.
“But publishing the book in our country is difficult. It is very difficult to gain support from readers because reading in our country is limited. So, the book will be written, but not so many people will read it,” he said.
He added that if the book simply lavishes praise on Hun Sen and doesn’t present a clear picture of reality, it will lose value.